Spurs stumbles again; Chelsea, Leicester into top 4 in EPL
Tottenham’s struggles in the Premier League showed no signs of ending as Spurs needed a late equalizer just to earn a 1-1 home draw against last-place Watford on Saturday.
The debate around VAR will likely go on as well, after the video-replay system sparked more confusion and controversy on day when it had a direct impact on three games. Dele Alli’s late equalizer for Tottenham was allowed to stand after a VAR check, despite the midfielder seemingly using his arm to control the ball before slotting home in the 86th minute. In addition, the big screens at Tottenham Stadium initially showed that VAR had overturned the goal, before the referee pointed to the spot and allowed it to stand.
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Burnley manager Sean Dyche was also left fuming after VAR overturned a late equalizer for his team against Leicester, which came from behind to win 2-1 on the day the club marked the one-year anniversary of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death. Wolverhampton Wanderers, meanwhile, had two goals disallowed by VAR in the first half as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at home — although both those decisions appeared correct. Also Saturday, Chelsea joined Leicester in moving into the top four by beating Newcastle 1-0 at home for its fifth straight win in all competitions, Everton beat West Ham 2-0, Aston Villa rallied to defeat 10-man Brighton 2-1, and Bournemouth drew 0-0 at home against Norwich.
Manchester City was playing at Crystal Palace in the late game.
Embed from Getty ImagesThe goal will do little to quell talk about a crisis brewing at Spurs, either. Watford looked headed for its first league win of the season after Abdoulaye Doucoure put the visitors ahead in the sixth minute and Tottenham once again looked short of inspiration as it struggled to find a response. But Alli scored his first goal for Spurs since January, capitalizing on a goalkeeping mistake by Ben Foster. It saved Spurs from a third straight loss in all competitions, following the embarrassing 7-2 rout by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and a 3-0 defeat to Brighton before the international break.
Embed from Getty ImagesAfter a slow start to the season, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea is starting to look like a genuine top-four contender. Marcos Alonso scored his first goal of the season to break the deadlock against Newcastle in the 73rd minute at Stamford Bridge. Callum Hudson-Odoi was impressive again for Chelsea and helped set up the goal, having previously created good scoring chances for Willian and Mason Mount. The win moved Chelsea into the top four for the first time this season, although it could be overtaken by Arsenal on Monday. It was an emotional afternoon at the King Power Stadium as Leicester used the Burnley game to honor Vichai, the Thai billionaire who died in a helicopter crash just outside the venue on Oct. 27 last year.
Around 5,000 supporters took part in a walk through the city to the stadium before the match, while a minute’s silence was held before kick off. Youri Tielemans scored the winner in the 74th minute to complete a comeback, after Jamie Vardy had canceled out an opening goal for the visitors by former Leicester player Chris Wood. Wood later thought he had equalized but his goal was ruled out by VAR for a trip on Jonny Evans. “I’m very disappointed. I’m a big fan of VAR but it has to be used more wisely than that,” Dyche said. “There is contact but we’re talking about people who have been around the game long enough to know what body language means. . The key moment has gone against us.”